Renate's story: flourishing in her fifties
Renate was the oldest woman present at our shoot and her age was exactly one of the reasons why she felt called to participate. We had an emotional chat about insecurity, aging and daring to embrace yourself and your unique features. Read her story below.
I am 50 years old now and I have been pretty insecure all my life. I have a lot of birthmarks and I always thought that was ugly, I always covered them up because I was very ashamed of them. But my boyfriend loves them, which made me realize that that is also a possibility. Furthermore, I have lopsided breasts, which you never really see in advertisements and such, but Savara's normalize boobs posts made me realize that I am not the only one. Pictures online often portray unrealistic standards, which makes a lot of women think there's something wrong with them, which is absolutely not the case.
Now that I am getting older, it feels like a shame that for all that time, all those years, I didn't see how beautiful I actually am. Only now am I starting to appreciate what I couldn't see back then. Only now do I dare to accept that I have birthmarks and asymmetrical breasts, that's just a part of who I am. The funny thing is, especially now that my body is aging and according to societal standards becoming less pretty, I am feeling a lot more confident about myself.
To other women I would like to say: dare to be unique. Don't adapt to what society wants you to be, it would make the world very boring and nothing would ever change. Dare to be yourself and to embrace the parts of you that you might not like that much, because they are what makes you unique. It's a shame that women feel insecure due to unrealistic beauty standards, because it prevents them from showing their true potential and strength to the world. The younger you realize that, the earlier you can start to flourish. I am 50 now, but I never dared to be myself before. So to whoever is reading this: please dare to show every facet of yourself to the world and stand up for what you believe in, especially if you're still young, because the future is yours.
Because of skin problems like acne that she had when she was younger, Renate now is a holistic beautician and she tries to be as sustainable as possible in her practice. She is known as the Huidfluisteraar (Skin Whisperer) and you can find her on Instagram @renatememelink.